BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Reuters) - Two U.S. astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday, about six hours after their Soyuz spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed.
Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:17 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2117 GMT/1717 EDT on Tuesday). Their spacecraft docked at 8:55 a.m..
The crew successfully performed a fast-track transit to the station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, to begin a five-month mission. Failure would have forced the spacecraft to take a two-day route for another attempt at docking.
Misurkin, Vande Hei and Acaba have joined NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Russia’s Sergey Ryazanskiy and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency who have been aboard the orbital outpost since July.
To commemorate the upcoming 60th anniversary on Oct.4 of the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, the Soyuz crew used its small model as a zero gravity indicator during the flight on Wednesday.
Reporting by Shamil Zhumatov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Sandra Maler & Simon Cameron-Moore